A senior Vatican official told a London audience of priests and laity this week that Catholics should avoid adapting their faith to make it more palatable to modernity.
Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, the Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, delivered the message during a lecture titled “Contemporary challenges to proclaiming the Catholic faith” at Westminster Cathedral Hall on Tuesday evening.
The Dominican theologian acknowledged that “attitudes of non-Catholic friends … need to be taken into account” and that “as Catholic believers we have to respect and be willing to engage” with other strands of thought. However, he added that Catholics should “avoid the temptation to fudge – to adapt the faith to make it more palatable to modern tastes”.
Archbishop Di Noia went on to say: “We also have to avoid the sometimes tempting response, ‘It’s a mystery’, just to cover the theological ignorance on the part of those who should know better.”
Asked by The Tablet what advice he had for British Christians in a largely secular country, the archbishop said: “My advice is simply to present the faith and live it.” He added that “new atheists” such as the British scientist Richard Dawkins “haven’t always an understanding of what it is they are knocking down”.
He highlighted the challenge posed by the West’s “culture of pluralism” and said that one of the reasons Buddhism has become so popular is that “it makes room for atheism”.